I intended to do a transcription of the court records for Amariah's estate for this blog post, but I find there are too many words I can't decipher (my copies are dark in places and light in places). So, this will be a summary of as much as I can make out of Amariah's estate papers. This was found in Volume 3 pages 406-410 of the probate records, 1796-1798, Norfolk County Registry of Probate, Dedham, Massahusetts, also volume 4, pages 428-430 and volume 5, page 165-166, and is due to research done by the NEHGS, in trying to locate Molly Wright's family.
First, on August 24, 1797, Henry Holbrook, Samuel Darling Jr. and Seth Holbrook 2nd signed a document than "Amariah Holbrook of Bellingham this day said before us that (tis?) his will that his eldest daughter Tryphena Holbrook should have an equal share with the rest of his children out of his estate. This day he declared before us (---) his will. (signed and dated by witnesses above)
Then, on November 7, 1797, in the county of Norfolk, Court of Probate held at Dedham, "The foregoing statement purporting to be the nuncupative will of Amariah Holbrook, late of Bellingham in said county, husbandman deceased, being presented to me for Probate, Henry Holbrook, Samuel Darling Jr and Seth Holbrook 2nd appear and make oath that they were present at the time of the making thereof and that the said Testator at the time of pronouncing the same, did bit the persons present, or some of them to bear witness that such was his Will, or to that effect, and that the said will was made in the last (subject?) of the said deceased and in the house of his habitation or dwelling. And whereas due process has been issued to call in the Widow, and other persons principally interested, that they might conest the same if they saw fit:-I do, therefore, by virtue of the power and authority to me given, this day, being more than fourteen days since the decease of the said Amariah Holbrook, and within six months from the time of his speaking the testamentary words herein contained, hereby approve and allow of the said testament as the nuncupative will of the said deceased. Given under my hand and seal of office the year and day before written. (?) Heath, Judge of Probate."
Samuel Darling Jr., Henry Holbrook and Aaron Holbrook were then appointed as appraisers of the estate and took an oth for the "faithful performance of the service."
The appraisal came back:
To the homestead of said deceased situated in said Bellingham containing thirty five acres with the buildings thereon 1000.0
30 acres of land by itself 550.0
40 acres of land lying by Obadiah Adams 450.0
It being two thirds lying in common and undivided with Capt. Jesse Holbrook
the other third
Another piece of land containing about three hares and a half 30.0
Total of the real 2030.0
To the wearing apparel with the buckle knees and shoe buckles and (---) 28.46
To 5 beds and clothes and (cords and bedsteads?) 65.50
To the spare sheets and pillow cases and table linens and meal (---) 11.72
To a pewter platter and 6 plates and other pewter and knives and forks and tin ware 3.18
To the earthen plates and other earthen and glasses 2.68
To 2 brass kettles and the great iron kettle and other iron ware 14.67
To a case of drawers and other 3 chests and 2 tables 10.37
To 4 spinning wheels six cider barrels and chairs and other wooden ware 20.58
To the saddle and bridle and the (gun?) and equipments 14.79
To a (---) in an ox cart and 2 plows and other faring tools 30.13
To the horse 2 colts 92.
To one pair of oxen and six cows one 2 year old heifer one yearling heifer and
2 calves and 6 sheep 216.0
To 3 (---) swine and seven (---) swine 50.83
To 70 bushels of Indian corn and 10 bushels of oats and 2 bushels of flaxseed
and fifty weight of butter 58.98
To a note of hand 20.00
This also appears to be dated November 7, 1797.
On the same date, Molly Holbrook, Administratix in the estate of Amariah Holbrook, late of Bellingham in said County, Husbandman, deceased, appeared and made under oath, that the foregoing is a true and perfect inventory of all the estate of the said deceased which has come to her hand and knowledge, and that if any thing more shall appear, she will render an account (----) that it may be of record herewith.
There is an affidavit of Molly Holbrook and then a notification for anyone owing or owed money to the estate to exhibit the same.
There is also a list of Amariah's children and the guardians they chose, but I'll save that for another post as this is already long.
I am so glad I went to the effort of trying to read the inventory. Although I missed a few words and probably misread a few words, it still gives me a much better idea of the life lived by Amariah and Molly Wright Holbrook. There were five beds for the couple and their 9 children, although the youngest was still a baby and may have had a cradle (not listed in the inventory, though). Children likely slept two to a bed. The estate indicates that the family was not dirt poor, but I don't know how this would rank among other estates of the time and place. The four spinning wheels makes me wonder if the family tried to produce more than they needed, or whether this was a family occupation in the winter, just to keep the family clothed.
I hope that other people who've seen this report will let me know about the errors I've probably made, and share other facts they've learned about this family. If this is truly the first time this information has been "published," then I hope someone will benefit from it, and be interested enough to try to make the corrections I'm sure are necessary.
Again, the line of descent is:
Amariah Holbrook-Molly Wright
Nahum Holbrook-Susanna Rockwood
Joseph Holbrook-Mary Elizabeth Whittemore
Fremont Holbrook-Phoebe Brown
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen